New “soft space” interview room first of its kind in Johnson County
Tuesday, November 24, 2015

It’s another example of the power of working together for the greater good. On Nov. 20, University of Iowa organizations dedicated a new “soft space” interview room designed to decrease stress and anxiety for survivors reporting sexual assault and other crimes to law enforcement.

The “soft space” interview room is the product of a collaborative effort made possible by the University of Iowa Police Department, the Rape Victim Advocacy Program, University of Iowa Student Government, University Housing and Dining Residence Education, and Student Life Marketing + Design. The room—the first of its kind in Johnson County—is located at UIPD but will be available to law enforcement agencies across the area.

“The UI works in many ways to prevent sexual misconduct, hold offenders accountable, and support survivors,” says Tom Rocklin, vice president for student life. “One of the things that makes our efforts at the UI possible is the fact that the entire campus works together on the issue.”

The environmental accommodations for the designated interview space were selected based on research and findings from a variety of sources. They include:

  • Low lighting
  • Soothing colors, such as blues and greens
  • Individual chairs, glider chairs/rocking chairs
  • Soft music and/or white noise
  • Access to an individual bathroom
  • Access to stress balls and weighted blankets
  • Journals
  • Resource information
  • Florescent lighting cover panels

“This room is important for people to be aware of,” says Dave Visin, interim assistant vice president and director of UI Public Safety. “And we want to continue to collaborate to address this problem and make our campus a better, safer place for all of our students.”